The Seven Deadly Sins of White Christian Nationalism: A Call to Action
In this book, Carter Heyward shows how American Christians have played a major role in building and securing structures of injustice in American life. She contends that, especially since the end of World War Two, American Christianity too often has been coopted by a white Christian nationalist agenda. And now, turbulent tides of white supremacy, blatant assaults on women’s reproductive freedoms and threats to basic human rights for gender and sexual minorities, the widening gulf between rich and poor in an unregulated
capitalist economy, and a world on fire, under water, and being savaged at least partly by human greed -- all point to a world crying out for Christians and others to teach, preach, and build movements of liberation and healing.
We must be clear, Heyward insists, there is no place for white Christian nationalism in Christianity, and there is no good place for white Christian nationalism in America. These twin realizations provided the spark for this book. White Christian Nationalism has no good points. It cannot provide “one side” of a political argument because it is rooted in hatred, divisiveness, and violence. It can never be a truly moral path for followers of Jesus, whether more conservative or more liberal in their traditions.
White Christian nationalism is an inherently destructive movement both spiritually and politically. With historic roots in the demonization of Jews, Blacks, and other racially and ethnically “darker” people, white Christian nationalism also fiercely resists the liberation of women and of gay, lesbian, and trans people. Needless to say, white Christian nationalism is dead set against abortion, many forms of birth control, all same-sex marriage, and all manifestations of non-binary and trans gender identities.
Moreover, and more immediately, white Christian nationalism is hellbent on destroying the democratic foundations of America because white Christian nationalism cannot tolerate the full participation – including voting -- by African Americans, Hispanics, Asian and Pacific Islanders, and other people of color, or by the ethnically and racially diverse coalitions of voters, or by political liberals, who tend to constitute today’s Democratic Party. It is easier to dismiss us as “socialists,” “elitists,” “unpatriotic,” “haters of America,” and even as “pedophiles” than to imagine finding ways of
building this nation together, we the people, all of us together. “Imagine,” John Lennon sang. Heyward calls us to imagine.
Because most Christians cherish our faith tradition’s roots in God’s love for all humankind and creation, white Christian nationalism is an assault on Jesus as a brother and Christic figure who taught his followers to love their neighbors as themselves. This book explores this spiritual dynamic with its biblical roots.
For Heyward, this is an urgent moment. We are in an emergency situation. What is happening right before our eyes in America is not normal. It is evil. Right now, she insists, is no time for the silence of Christians or other Americans committed to liberty and justice for all. The Seven Deadly Sins of White Christian Nationalism is a “call to action.” Heyward implores her readers to speak up now, collectively and individually. She urges her sisters, brothers, and siblings to break the silence too long associated with many American churches, especially mainstream and liberal Protestant churches.